I was so intent on the map trying to figure out the boundaries of the Fairhaven Club that I almost missed Sonia walking quickly out of the hallway I was about to turn down. She didn’t quite run, but it wasn’t far short of that, especially in those heels. She almost bumped into another hostess, but the other woman dodged at the last second. Sonia didn’t slow down or appear to even notice the other woman. Her cheeks were flushed, and if I had been able to look her in the eyes, I’m sure I would have noticed a look of ecstasy on her, and it had nothing to do with drugs.
I arrived at the door and texted the passcode. It unlocked, but instead of going in, I gave a little shave and a haircut, first.
“Come in, Matthew,” Nikki’s voice was unmistakable.
I zipped inside, closing the door behind me, but staying well away, for now. “Is it safe?”
Nikki had been standing, but now whirled and sat in one smooth motion, regarding me with a haughty, imperial gaze. “How droll.”
“I saw Sonia on the way in. Just not looking to be a snack.”
“I do not suffer from hunger. I am vexed, Matthew, and I do not used that word lightly.”
“Uh huh, so what’s got you vexed?”
“Whatever the goings on in this club, I have clearly been excluded. I do not like when events move through the corridors of power without my knowledge.”
I chuckled. “Try being me. I always seem to be the last to know.”
“Hmm. I had hoped Sonia might divulge something with the correct persuasion.”
“The girl is innocent, as innocent as someone can be in this establishment. Whatever is going on has been excluded from her, and likely all of the staff.”
“Yeah, that checks out, at least, explicit knowledge.”
“What do you mean?”
“You happen to have a storage locker in this joint?”
She poured herself a glass of wine and shook her head.
I came in, finally, taking a seat on the couch next to the chair she sat in. “So, it turns out that the place is lousy with lockers for members.”
“Yes, I know of them, but I never saw the point of having one. I would not trust their security measures to safeguard my property from the scheming of other members, especially when I have my club and other means to secure my property.”
“Sure, sure. I got a look down in the basement, and there are a lot of lockers. And the club itself has swallowed up other buildings. So I’m thinking smuggling.”
For the first time that night, a genuine smile touched Nikki’s lips.